The Stories We Tell
Korn Ferry CEO Gary Burnison explains why all leaders, whether they like it or not, must be good storytellers.
Leadership U is a framework designed around six principles of leadership for today’s challenging world. Leadership development to unite teams through times of change, with trust, communication, and empathy to help you build stronger, stable, inclusive teams for the future. It’s not about you. But it starts with you. Because what matters now is not only what you become, but how you empower your people to become it. Unite teams through times of change by moving them past fear toward optimism in three steps.
Understanding emotion is the first step in aligning where you are with where your team is. Great change leads to emotional response. The reactions and behaviors that follow are part of the Emotion Curve.
As an inclusive leader, you need to be an emotional listener. Because people don’t always say what they feel, and no one will be in the same emotional place. Observing avoidance and shock? That’s anger. Is your team avoiding big-priority conversations? That’s withdrawal. Are they asking questions about what the next quarter might look like? They’re on their way up the curve.
Navigating your team through the emotions on the curve is not a journey measured in months and miles, but rather in milestones. Small changes, big wins.
Move the ball through the curve to understand the different emotional responses to change.
Are you sensing avoidance, confusion and fear in your team?Learn More
Are you seeing signs of frustration, irritation or anxiety in your team?Learn More
Do members of your team seem overwhelmed, aimless, isolated?Learn More
Is your team making sense of things, looking ahead, seeking new direction?Learn More
Are you seeing signs of commitment, engagement and ownership in your team?Learn More
Do you get a sense of integration, reconnection and balance from your team?Learn More
Emotional responses showing DISBELIEF
Avoidance, confusion, fear
What is going to happen to me?
I don’t want things to change.
ACKNOWLEDGE the situation even if you don’t have all the answers. By addressing it you are showing understanding and empathy of the other persons feelings which helps reduce the fear.
Emotional responses showing ANGER
Frustration, irritation, anxiety
Why is this happening?
I can't accept it.
Bring CLARITY. Ambiguity leads to anxiety. Throw as much light on the situation as possible. You cannot over-communicate at this stage.
Emotional responses showing WITHDRAWAL
Overwhelm, aimlessness, isolation
Why do I feel so alone in this?
This is too much to take on.
Build CONNECTION. Bring the team together regularly and talk honestly. Try to lighten the mood, appropriate humor is a great unifier.
Emotional responses showing ACCEPTANCE
Sense-making, looking ahead, direction-seeking
What will the long-term impact be?
I can see positives ahead.
Unite the team with a shared, authentic PURPOSE. Be open about doing things differently and looking at new ideas.
Emotional responses showing OPTIMISM
Commitment, engagement, ownership
How can I help through this?
I am committed.
Show CONFIDENCE in your team's positive mindset. Empower them to explore new ideas and capitalize on the newfound optimism. Say yes.
Emotional responses showing MEANING
Integration, reconnection, intention
How can I connect this with my personal values?
This is meaningful.
Show PURPOSEFULNESS. Be truly understanding what is important to your team you can help them make sense of the situation. Increasing self-awareness and self-fulfillment.
Being an inclusive leader demands empathy and awareness of what your people are going through, and how to help them. Only then can you start to promote calm, build trust, and take action to move teams from ambiguity to optimism.
To help today’s leaders we have built a framework for inclusive leadership focusing on the Six Degrees of Leadership: anticipate, navigate, communicate, listen, learn and lead.
How do you lead?
How do you lead, today? Everyone has dominant behaviors that influence their leadership style. By understanding what these are and identifying areas for improvement you can continue your journey toward more inclusive leadership.
Take the leadership quiz to identify which of the 6 principles you rely on now and how to achieve the perfect balance of them all.
Today, more than ever, leaders are faced with decisions and situations that are testing all of the tried-and-true thinking around what “good” leadership looks like. A new, virtual way of working, social unrest and uncertainty in the market is driving leaders all over the globe to reassess the critical skills necessary to succeed and lead authentically.
Whether you want a quick insight, or a deeper dive for your organization, we can help you hone your leadership skills.
The Six Degrees of Leadership. No one understands leaders and the challenges they face better than Korn Ferry. We’ve created Leadership U as the key to your leadership evolution. Based on the Six Degrees of Leadership, these virtual classroom experiences will provide new insight into critical aspects of leadership that are non-negotiables in today’s business climate.
The Six Degrees of Leadership is the core curriculum of Leadership U. These six one-hour, live, interactive virtual classroom experience (VCE) sessions accommodate up to 25 people and are suitable for mid-level managers.
To thrive, all companies will need to reimagine their future. This requires the skill of anticipation. To anticipate, leaders must predict tomorrow, based on accurately perceiving the reality of today. Leaders must move from seeing only “this is what is happening now” to the lens of “what this means for the future.” In other words, based on what you know now, what are the consequences—both positive and negative? As leaders visualize all potential outcomes, they can make better decisions. This one-hour, virtual session will focus on helping leaders assess and extract meaning from the current reality, clearly, to project what might happen in the future. The more clearly leaders see the here and now, the better they’ll project what is around the next bend.
Navigate focuses on how to be proactive, purposeful and agile (or with agility) to course-correct in real time. It requires never losing sight of the ultimate goal. By making proactive, purposeful decisions that determine both direction and velocity for what happens next, leaders can provide the roadmap where their people can ask questions, engage in discussion, and then execute. This one-hour, virtual session provides leaders with the skills to help identify purpose to help navigate more effectively.
As a leader, do your messages command attention and move people to action? Leaders can’t just transmit information; they must connect emotionally with others to inspire. In challenging times, people want to know the truth, however, how leaders communicate to inspire people to believe, then enable that belief to become reality is where leadership lives and breathes. This one-hour, virtual session will engage leaders in honing their message and point of view in a concise, compelling way. The goal: capture your audience’s attention, connect emotionally and move them to action.
Leaders need to listen, especially to what they may not want to hear. To listen to others, leaders must listen with genuine empathy. By modeling authenticity, leaders can make it safe for others to share the truth—not what they think you want to hear. This one-hour, virtual session will explore empathy and compassion and the role these play in opening the door to authentic conversations. A leader’s ability to ‘hear’ more than the facts not only creates stronger connections but it creates an environment where people feel valued because they truly feel understood.
There’s nothing like a crisis or a complex problem to accelerate learning and force a leader to pivot. This is learning agility to the “Nth” degree. Officially, learning agility is defined as the ability and willingness to apply past experiences to new challenges. Or it’s knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do. At the core of learning agility is the ability to turn off ‘autopilot;’ keeping things comfortable, defaulting to the same patterns, day after day. Instead, leaders need to find new and different ways to problem solve and see issues. This one-hour, virtual session will explore the tools needed to be curious, engaged—and genuinely committed to move from autopilot to bring about even better decisions for an organization and their people.
Leadership means meeting people where they are—especially in times of chaos, change or uncertainty. When “perform” becomes “survive” organizations must continue to move forward—but where should you push and where should you pause? Are leaders courageous enough to deal with the immediate problems but also courageous enough to do the things that will connect the organization to the future? In this one-hour, virtual session leaders will explore the role that displaying courage helps teams move the business forward while keeping employees afloat—with appropriate hope for the future.
The world we live in today, leaders are struggling to find the right words, the appropriate intention and meaningful actions to take in regard to recent events about race and racism. Say nothing or say the wrong thing...the risk feels high in either case and the 'right' answers are scarce. This one-hour, virtual session will focus on how bias, and socialization can drive individual reactions to current events and impact the way we interact. This session will help leaders start to have real conversations about race and bias.
Based around the Leadership U development program by Korn Ferry, designed to help leaders navigate their teams through times of change, you can now access the key points in the book by the same name.